Earlier this month, Georgia passed a voting bill that disenfranchised rural communities in its rigidity. African-American residents of Georgia were specifically targeted, and some major organizations have protested the bill’s unfair jurisdictions. Georgia based companies UPS and Porsche adamantly opposed the bill over social media and Major League Baseball moved their 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. Now, with Apple TV relocating production of their film “Emancipation,” it seems the film world is wading into the political discourse.
Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith, the director and star of “Emancipation” have been vocal in their agreement with Apple’s decision. Said Fuqua and Smith, “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.” The film is a runaway slave thriller based on a script by Bill Collage. It will likely shoot in Louisiana, where the real events actually took place.
Apple’s decision could set a precedent for future film productions. As many know, Tyler Perry’s headquarters are in Atlana, and the city became a budding production site amidst the pandemic. Following the passing of the voting bill, Georgia political leader Stacy Abrams pleaded with Hollywood not to uproot its productions. Others, including actor Steve Coulter, also believe the boycott could do more harm than good, tweeting: “We here in GA fought like hell the last 4 years to turn it blue. We gave you two Dem Senators. Your boycott only hurts us, the thousands of rank and film actors and crew.”
It’s hard not to agree with Coulter, because a film industry within Georgia provides thousands of jobs to a budding middle class. That being said, America has entered an era in which political activism is synonymous with identity, specifically for those working in the predominantly liberal industry of entertainment. Tyler Perry recently announced that he will not be relocating his headquarters from Atlanta, a monumental decision that could impact the rest of Hollywood’s relationship with the state. Only time will tell.